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Low salesforce user adoption bedevils many companies.

That’s why a lot of time and trouble is spent trying to increase salesforce user adoption.

Because quite simply, if the users don’t use system the way you intend, then no matter what else happens, the benefits aren’t going to be delivered.

But many businesses fail to achieve this. After all, most sales people don’t vote for more visibility of sales performance and activity levels. Or for more ‘perceived’ admin at the expense of sales time. So attempts to increase salesforce user adoption often fail.

We have completed over a thousand salesforce projects. Our experience is that a 3 step approach is required to increase salesforce user adoption. Do these 3 things well from the outset and your business will have high salesforce user adoption. Apply these steps to a current salesforce environment and you will turnaround existing low levels of user adoption.

1. Create an advantage to using salesforce

This means it’s easier for front-line sales people to do their jobs using salesforce than not using it.

If there is no benefit to front-line sales people in using salesforce then user adoption will not increase. This often happens when salesforce is implemented for the sole reason of giving the management team visibility of the sales pipeline.

Here are some ways to make it easier for sales people to do their jobs using salesforce. They represent an immediate way to increase salesforce user adoption.

Take full advantage of salesforce functionality

Re-design and streamline business processes. Make it easier to get things done using the system. Automate approval processes. Integrate electronic signature applications to get contracts signed more quickly. For more details and other examples read our blog post 5 Compelling Ways To Increase Salesforce Benefits or its sister post, 5 More Compelling Ways To Increase Salesforce Benefits.

Create powerful pipeline reports & dashboard charts

Give first-line line sales people and their immediate managers with the information they need to manage their sales pipeline effectively. Focus on dashboard charts that provide visibility of the size, trend and quality of their pipeline. If you’re seeking inspiration then look at our blog post “12 charts that every sales manager should have on his dashboard‘. If you only have time to create one pipeline dashboard chart then make it this one.

Use smart AppExchange applications

Integrate other low cost / high value applications with salesforce to add further value. Start with the free Dupecatcher application to improve data quality. Use Conga to automatically generate well formatted proposals from salesforce. Use electronic signature applications to make it easy for customers to commit to your quotes.

Bring other relevant data into salesforce

If other systems store invoice or order information then import this data into salesforce. That way, when the sales person is standing outside the customers’ premises he can quickly and easily see the trend in orders over the last 3 or 6 months. This doesn’t necessarily need full-blown integration. One person’s integration is another’s weekly import wizard.

There are lots of other ways to use salesforce to make people more efficient, effective and productive. Get in touch if you would like a free review of your salesforce environment and we’ll help you get started.

2. Create a disadvantage to not using salesforce

Step 1 states that there should be an advantage to using salesforce in order to increase user adoption. But step 2 is the converse. Create a disadvantage to not using it.

In other words, it must be easier for a first-line sales person to do their job using salesforce. But must also harder for that same person to do their job if they don’t use it.

Here are some examples of what we mean. Apply these examples to increase salesforce user adoption.

Use pipeline reports and dashboards to manage the sales team

This means using dashboards and reports that give visibility of the pipeline and sales performance in 1.1s, appraisals and team meetings. If the sales person says “Some of my opportunities are in Excel or my notebook” then the managers’ response has to be, “Sorry, they’re inadmissible evidence! We are conducting this conversation on the basis of the information that I can see in salesforce”. Here are examples of dashboard charts that are good to use in team reviews, the focus on managing pipeline quality.

Track sales targets in salesforce

Every sales person performs against a target. But too often these targets are stored outside salesforce. This means the dialogue about whether the sales person has sufficient pipeline to meet his target also takes place outside his target. Tracking targets within salesforce is a very powerful way to increase salesforce user adoption. Here are 3 ways to measure sales versus target in salesforce.

Ensure managers use salesforce Chatter

Don’t communicate key messages on email, use Chatter. Have managers interact with sales reports on individual opportunities directly on the Chatter feed within each Opportunity. That way if sales people aren’t regularly logged into salesforce they are missing out on critical dialogue with the management team. For more information on making full use of Chatter read 10 Tips For Chatter Roll-out.

Manage discount approval requests only in salesforce

Too often price discount requests are submitted to managers by email. This means the rationale for a discount is quickly lost to the mists of time. To increase salesforce user adoption ensure managers only deal with discount requests that are submitted using the Approvals process in salesforce. Study this blog post for recommendations from a pricing expert on how to limit the margin given away by price discounts. It includes an explanation of how to implement these ideas in salesforce.

The key thing here is that there is an advantage to using salesforce. But increasing salesforce user adoption also means there must also be pain associated with not using it.

3. Use metrics to increase salesforce user adoption

Most things are impossible to manage without measurement. Salesforce user adoption is no exception.

And if you can measure it, you can manage it.

But salesforce user adoption metrics need to be more sophisticated than simply tracking whether sales people have logged on. That reveals nothing about what they did next.

Here are some metrics for measuring salesforce user adoption that can be run at the individual sales person level.

Number of Contacts created in the last 30 days

We’re all meeting new people all of the time. Are these new Contacts being entered into salesforce? If not, then salesforce user adoption is low.

Opportunities with Close Dates in the past

Deals can’t close in the past. So a significant number of opportunities with close dates in the past tell us that the pipeline is inaccurate. But it’s also telling us that user adoption is low because sales people aren’t using salesforce to manage their opportunities.

Percentage of Opportunity fields populated

This report measures the number of non-mandatory fields that are populated with data on the Opportunity (or any other type of record for that matter). In other words, if one person on average populates 80 percent of fields and another 40 percent then the first has a much higher level of salesforce user adoption.

These are just three examples of how to measure salesforce user adoption. As you can see, the best user adoption reports don’t actually focus on user adoption per se – rather, they track the key metrics that are important to the business – it’s just that they also tell us how well users are using the system. Here’s a blog post specifically about how to measure user adoption in salesforce.

Increase salesforce user adoption in your business

Achieving full salesforce user adoption can be a challenge. But follow the 3 steps to achieve full salesforce user adoption. Don’t forget, create an advantage to using salesforce, create a disadvantage to not using it, and measure and proactively manage user adoption.

Related Blog Posts

Why You Need To Compare Average Closed Won Opportunity Size

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